(This story’s been tumbling around in my mind for years, and I think it’s the next thing I’m going to work on. I’ve started a secret Pinterest board for it, which I’ll be making public sometime in the nearish future. Anyway, I submitted this snippet and another for a course and got good grades on both of them, which made me super happy. The first snippet can be found here. Oh and the main character is a 13-year-old boy named Zach. Enjoy!)
I flop backwards on my bed and stare at the ceiling.
I won’t see her ’til Thanksgiving. Maybe before then, if she finds a free weekend to come visit, but plane tickets are expensive and I don’t have enough money to pay for her to come.
I start thinking about school and how I’ll handle the next school year without her and that I’ll have to handle it all by myself and if I’ll be able to get good grades or if I’ll just barely pass all of my classes again like before and my chest starts heaving and my heart starts pounding and I have to close my eyes and think of the ocean for a few minutes before I can calm down.
Mrs. Parker knocks on my door after a while and asks if I want any dinner but I don’t say anything. I’ve lost my voice. Again.
“It’ll be on the table in twenty minutes if you want it,” she says. A few seconds later, she says, “I’m here if you want to talk or just need somebody to sit with.”
I wish I could tell her how much I appreciate it. I wish I could just open the door and hug her and cry and let her hug me back and talk about everything I’m stressing out about.
But I can’t.
My voice is gone again and I don’t know where to find it.
“I’ll come check on you again in a little while.”
I nod, even though I know she can’t see it. She walks away after a moment and I’m alone.
I trace the constellations on the ceiling with my gaze. They’ve been up there for almost a year now, and haven’t moved a fraction of an inch since. I wish my life were like that – predictable and settled, instead of erratic and unreliable.
Tears start to well up in my eyes as a lump forms in the back of my throat.
I flip over, grab my notebook, and start writing before I let myself sink any further. I spill my thoughts across the page, somehow focusing through blurry vision. Sentences are scratched out, arrows drawn to switch things around, words are circled and starred. Even as I write, I’m struck by how much better this is than trying to write it out on the computer. “Your mind works too quickly for the computer to keep up,” Emilie once told me. I realize she was right.
As I start on my fourth page, I finally start to feel the words ebb away. The lump is gone, and only one tear smudged the page. I hit the middle of the sixth page and realize I’m done, so I flip back to the beginning and start copying the poem on fresh pages, revising it slightly, but trying to leave it clean and readable.
I’ll send it to her in my first letter, I decide. And then she can tape it on her dorm wall and it’ll remind her of me.
I finish copying out the poem and read over it twice. I’m satisfied with how it turned out, but it’s not the kind of poem to make me smile. Not like the last one I sent her. That one was borne out of good feelings. This one’s not.
I close my notebook, roll over to my back, and hug it to my chest as I stare at the constellations again. The moonlight streaming through the window dimly lights the room, but the stars on the ceiling are shining brightly. I’m glad Emilie put them there. I can’t see the real stars outside because of the city lights, but these are good enough.
A while later, my phone buzzes. I consider leaving it, but then I remember that it might be Emilie. I grab it and turn it on, and my heart jumps when I realize it is her. She’s sent me her new address, along with a heart and a “Write soon – I can’t wait to talk to you again. Miss you already!!!”
I take a shaky breath as tears burn my eyes. This time, though, they’re happy tears. I smile and close my eyes, letting them overflow. The thought that someone wants to hear from me – and even misses me – makes my heart and mind soar. I’ve never known love to be this huge.
I hug the notebook tighter and let myself cry.